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Massachusetts Child Support
Child Support in Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the court may order either parent to provide maintenance, support (including health insurance), and education for any minor child. The official Child Support Guidelines are presumed to be correct unless there is a showing that the amount would be unjust or inappropriate under the particular circumstances in a case. There is an official Child Support Guidelines Worksheet contained in the Appendix of Forms.

Massachusetts uses the percentage of income formula that determines child support as a percentage of the income of the parent obligated to pay it. This amount is determined by factoring the number of children requiring support. This is the most basic method for calculating support, and some people believe that it does not take into consideration many important details. This makes this model of support calculation the least exact.

Massachusetts child support is typically calculated by using a Child Support Worksheet. The worksheet generates an appropriate Massachusetts child support obligation according to each spouse's income and other relative numeric factors such as taxes paid and retirement contributions. Once this amount is determined it is essential to take a look at any appropriate Massachusetts child support deviation factors that may be applicable to the situation.

Divorce and child support are described in the Massachusetts General Laws Annotated; Chapter 208, Section 28 and Massachusetts Rules of Court; Appendix of Forms. Additional information about Massachusetts child support can be found in the state statutes.

Calculate Massachusetts Child Support

Other Expenses and Deductions

Extraordinary expenses are either add-ons, where the expense is added to the support payment, or deductions, where the amount is deducted, and indicated as either mandatory or permissive. Childcare expenses are permissive deductions. Extraordinary medical expenses are deviation factors.

Child Support Enforcement

When a deadbeat fails to pay child support the Child Support Enforcement Division collects it and charges a 12 percent interest penalty. The CSED garnishes wages, intercepts state and tax refunds, seizes lottery winnings and liens property in its efforts to to collect it all plus interest in full.


The age of emancipation in Massachusetts is 18 years of age.

Child support is usually discontinued at age 18, but the court may order a parent to pay beyond 18. Support may be extended until the child turns 21 if the child lives with the parent receiving child support and depends on that parent for support. If the dependant is enrolled in school, the order may be extended until the age of 23. (A court may also order that child support continue indefinitely for a child with disability.)

Deviation Factors

Reasons for deviation include:

  • the parent paying support has other minor children and there are insufficient financial resources available;
  • the parent paying support has extraordinary expenses (travel-related visitation expenses, uninsured medical expenses); and
  • other unusual circumstances.

The court may deviate from the support obligation based on the support worksheet by address the following issues:

  • alimony payments
  • tax exemptions for the children
  • minimum and maximum levels of payment
  • custody and visitation order
  • child care
  • age of the children
  • health insurance obligations
  • attribution of income
  • prior orders of support
  • and expenses of subsequent families.
         (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 28)

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